Ever since Bitcoin’s advent of the blockchain to help prevent double-spending of digital currency tokens (mainly BTC) & Ethereum which took the concept to the next level, by allowing companies to build decentralized applications on their platform with Smart Contracts, blockchain technology has exploded into nearly every industry. A blockchain is simply a distributed public ledger, which takes a record of data and shares it among many computers, which are all updated as the chain of information is updated, getting rid of the need of a centralized authorized controlling and distributing that same data. This allows for transparency, as well as some other benefits, and has been at the forefront of FinTech (Financial Technology).
For most of us, blockchain has already affected our lives in one way or another, for even the basic resulting product: cryptocurrencies, has nearly turned the financial world on it’s head. Enabling peer-to-peer transfers of value without the need of a bank or other middleman, has produced both simplicity and chaos in the financial world. Even speculating on some cryptocurrencies has turned out to be a profitable venture for many, and a horrible experience for others.
But blockchains have enabled much more than simply digital currencies. The technology is being used for many applications, which we will be discussing in this article, both for some current and potential future uses.
Blockchains And You:
Now, for the sake of getting to the really interesting stuff, for this article we shall refrain from listing new blockchain tokens that are seeking to improve things like cryptocurrency transaction speeds, bandwidths, etc. (though there are many doing just that). We will look at a few blockchain startups which are focussing on practical applications other than acting as digital currencies.
1. Prediction markets.
Augur.net is one company which is combining blockchain technology and prediction markets to make highly accurate predictions on some future events… others not so much. Imagine being able to know ahead of time, the likely results of certain events well in advance.
2. Swarm Intelligence.
Here’s an article by coindesk about how blockchains can help improve robotic swarms. This could potentially be very useful, but it’s also quite scary with other possible applications. On a brighter side (though not necessarily blockchain related), another company is working for swarm technology for humans. Unanimous A.I. is a company trying to keep humans in the mix of the Artificial Intelligence wave. They use a technique called Swarm Intelligence, which is basically taking “swarms” of people to tap into their collective intelligence. It creates ‘real time’ AI systems out of people. This can be used for predictions, but also for so much more, like learning together, solving problems, and making decisions. Very cool.
3. A New Decentralized Internet.
There has been talk of how blockchains could create a new and decentralized internet. Many of us probably don’t think about it much, but the truth of the matter is that the internet is centralized, and each country has control over what is and isn’t allowed for their citizens to view. China for example constantly props up the Communist Party and tries to hide criticisms and past horrors, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, whereas places like Indonesia have web blocks which can at times leave radical Islamist sites unblocked, while blocking things like gambling sites and other smaller matters (as well as blocking larger matters such as terror alert websites, Christian support websites, and religious discourse and informational websites which should not be blocked). Meanwhile, in places such as the US, tech monopolies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, often put their users in bubbles, de-monetize conservative voices, and have been said to push fake news stories to the top of searches, while pushing legitimate sources and stories far down in the results so they’re harder to find if they don’t match with the popular dialogue being pushed, and even getting rid of certain search suggestions of political information they disagree with. A decentralized internet may be able to help free us from these issues.
4. Enhancing the Internet Of Things (IoT).
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of interconnected digital devices, being able to collectively process together. And not just desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets… but your refrigerator, your heater, your laundry machine, and perhaps even your toaster, which on an individual level could also do things like calculate their own running costs & purchase things they need to operate. Proposals had been unclear about how to utilize the Internet of Things, but it’s believed that however it is used, blockchains will be able to greatly enhance it’s functionality in areas such as security, trust, and lowering costs, etc.
5. Shared SuperComputer.
The blockchain project Golem has created a decentralized supercomputer, which shares bits of processing power from each participant’s device. This enables people to process larger files, renderings, computations, etc, in a faster time than they would by using their device alone.
6. Cloud Computing.
Dfinity describes itself as: “The future of cloud computing” and “an unbound, tamperproof, blockchain computer. It claims to be able to “reduce enterprise IT system costs by 90% through reducing human capital needs” and “Power autonomous self-updating software systems that beat monopolistic intermediaries”. It goes on to describe many other things it will be able to do, but it’s enough to say it enables a cloud-based supercomputer.
7. Smart Bonds.
Smart Bonds are new financial instruments. They can produce risk free interest rates & fully automated payment streams, essentially self-paying digital instruments. Blockgeeks.com, where we found this, also has a good list of other blockchain applications.
8. Space Stuff.
Aside from the fact that companies like Virgin Galactic are now accepting blockchain-backed bitcoins as payments, blockchains themselves may actually have some practical uses in and about space as well. Blockchains may play a role in a new space-based sharing economy. Blockchain technology could help form a Space Bank for Space Money in a Space Economy. And they may have some other space applications as well.
9. Personal Loans.
Loans require good credit scores, which are literally non-existent for many people around the world. Blockchain based companies, like the GetLine Network (currently in the middle of launching) are helping to provide accurate credit scores and loans to millions of people who would otherwise not have access. Another blockchain-based company dealing in debts and assets is Othera.
10. Real Estate (Property).
Averspace and Popety are both Singapore based real estate companies. Averspace is a P2P real estate startup whereas Popety is a blockchain-based real estate listing website, which boasts of having the most exhaustive property data base in Singapore, according to oddup.com (where you can find many other Asian based blockchain companies).
11. Digital Gold.
A Malaysian based startup called DinarDirham (that’s us), has created digitized gold commodity assets (crypto assets or digitized commodities). Our DinarCoins are pegged to the gold spot price, and our Gold Smart Contracts are backed by specific types of gold bullion.
12. Advanced & Secure Digital Wallets.
Another Malaysian based startup, bcmy.io (Blockchains.my), is an advanced and secure, multi-asset, digital wallet app. It also has a host of features like P2P chat, a cryptocurrency-accepting merchant map, and the option to become such a merchant through the wallet, among other features. It also utilizes Debit Cards, NFC Smart Cards (Near Field Communication), and QR Codes.
Below are some names and links to other companies and information which we believe you’ll also find very interesting. You can view more awesome blockchain applications and companies here, or in the list of links below.
Lists & Articles:
More Awesome Blockchain Companies
Blockchain technology is continuing to grow, with not much sign of slowing down (quite the opposite), and it is poised to soon play a part in many different areas of our lives, for the better or the worse.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s article,
Have a great weekend!
The DinarDirham team.